See our planning for 2020–21.

Comic art

Arts and Social Action Program

The social sciences traditionally have been associated with analysis, and the arts with creativity. What if we refused the authority of those old categories? What if we used the arts to challenge and expand social theory? And used social theory to recognize creativity as a means for social actions? For example:

  • Intervention in children's early development through the arts
  • Art as a product of social class and social history
  • The arts and AIDS prevention
  • Creation of community through arts in public spaces
  • The body as a means of exploring the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality

Art heightens people's consciousness. It enables subtle shifts. It opens small margins of important change. It disrupts preconceived attitudes, letting people become more aware, more humane, and less extreme.

The arts can help us break through the invisibility, the felt unknown of exclusion, and the shaping power of racism in American life. They can dislodge arrogance, certainty, conformity, and normality. Arts enable us to be surprised and moved, opening up the center, collapsing it, imploding it, and ultimately allowing us to recognize the creativity of and from the margins--where it's not supposed to be.

Art doesn't legislate change. It imagines change.
Hampshire's Art and Social Action Program began as a collaborative effort between the School for Interdisciplinary Arts and the School of Social Science (now the School of Critical Social Inquiry). A network of faculty across the five schools is now available to Division II and Division III students.

Annual "Creative Interventions" event

Each year the Arts and Social Action Program hosts an event profiling 12 Division IIIs that represent, in different ways, intersections of creative practice and social/political engagement.

The event aims to represent work involving a diverse cross-section of creative mediums/practices and diversity of social action/social change themes/foci.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make the 2016 Creative Interventions event on May 4, 2016, a success!

Creative Interventions 2016 Program (pdf)
Creative Interventions 2015 Program (pdf)

Creative Interventions 2014 Program (pdf)
Creative Interventions 2013 Program (pdf)


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School for Interdisciplinary Arts
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002